Back when Sean, who is 17 and a junior in high school this year, was younger and we were still getting used to his visitation schedule with his dad, I began to hate the 1st and 3rd weekends of every month. Every time he went to his dad’s I always felt I was missing a piece of my heart until he came home. I was the Momma bird and I needed to have all my little baby birds at home in the nest and under my wing. I worried the whole weekend about whether or not Sean was being fed properly, was he having any fun (and sometimes I hoped he wasn’t having too much fun), and was he actually spending any time with his dad or was my ex leaving him with his parents all the time (which he actually did more than he’d admit to me). Eventually I got used to not having him home those weekends but I never stopped worrying and I also never stopped disliking those weekends. They filled me with a little anxiety. Until I had my third son, Jack. Then, when Sean would go to his dad’s I began to see those weekends as break periods for the two of us. We needed them. He got a break from me and I was able to let go of some of the worry. When he reached his teens, I was ecstatic that he went to his dad’s. I didn’t mind one bit and I stopped worrying about him the way I had. I still had concerns but mostly I was just happy to get a break from his hormones. Now that he’s living with his dad, I miss him so much but I came to the realization that in a year or two he’d be cutting the apron strings anyway, and this was actually preparing me for his going away to college, even though it was so much sooner than I had planned. I’m better able to deal with him not being around and now the only concern I have for him being at his dad’s is that my ex is not going to be able to handle Sean going away to college very well. I’ve let go of almost all control and I’m able to be the listening parent now, while my ex is having to do all the worrying about the little things. It’s an interesting juxtaposition.
For the longest time, though, those 1st and 3rd weekends of the month were just weekends. I didn’t particularly look forward to them. They were just days I had to get through one at a time. When the opportunity arose to go check out a writer’s group at my local library, I didn’t see it as an opportunity. I saw it as a synchronicitous event that I might be interested in since I was on this path of re-discovering myself, which involved getting back into writing. It was the door of opportunity I needed in my life. I didn’t even have to knock because it was already open as if waiting for me to open my eyes and see it. I envision it almost as a wind blowing the mist and fog away from my clouded eyes and seeing Alice’s looking glass, and all I had to do was step through. And I did.
I will never regret going to that first meeting. It was the best thing I had done for myself in the longest time. It was also probably the first truly selfish thing I’ve ever done since having kids that was to benefit no one but me. I love this group. We are diverse. We have contrasting and complementing (no I didn’t misspell that-go check your dictionary) personalities. Without each other the group would not be what it is. I care about these people. They laugh, they talk, they discuss, they share, and they are truly good people to be around. I have connected with several of them on a personal level and have become friends with them. It is such blessing to go from only having three friends, 2 who live out of state, to having these new people in my life. Each one adds something, an insight, a smile, constructive criticism, but they all are supportive of one another and encourage each other, and I am so lucky and blessed to be able to be a part of their lives, even for just an hour and a half on the 1st and 3rd weekends of every month. Although, some of us are connecting outside of the group as well. My favorite thing is after the group meeting we go out for drinks afterwards and get to know each other as people, and not just as writers. I am so very fortunate, and I am so grateful that my path has included me being a part of this wonderful community of people. I can’t help but smile almost the entire time we have group. I am just that happy and excited about those days. I sometimes feel as if I am just this smiling fool sitting in the room, but I honestly just can’t help it. These are my people, and they make me happy.
The day I made the decision to stop sitting on my butt and start living, start participating, and start experiencing new things was the best day of my life. I have had so many happy days since then. This week may have been a rough week in my personal life but for the most part it was not as bad as it could have been, or would have been before I decided to change things in my life. I wake up every morning happy and excited to be alive. I’m grateful for the chance to call a ‘do-over’ and begin again. It may be a late start but it is a start and, isn’t there a saying that it’s never to late to begin again? I’m happy. I’m excited. I’m joyful. I think it shows, and I don’t care if it does. I want my life to shine so bright that people have a hard time forgetting I was a part of their lives. I want to be that person they remember as being happy and grateful for even the smallest of days.
Be happy. Be cheerful. Go shine!